Saturday Morning OYs – September 3rd, 2022

We’ve previously complained about how they use Horace and his characterization to get away with not managing to find the right level to pitch to. But that objection aside, this is a pretty nice pun!

My friend Alice used to … oh never mind!

Dilbert Classics has been running a storyline about a new employee without a head (Microsoft hired his head, which is in a jar at their headquarters). But he has a name.


  1. Ha! This one of Horace’s, I understood. But I realized here on CIDU that I hadn’t really gotten the whole thing; I had to read the Wikipedia article on Emile Zola, and now my head hurts. (I saw the play Uncle Vanya twice and The Cherry orchard twice but didn’t know anything about naturalism.)

    I’m disappointed in my opinion of myself; I’d had felt that the apostrophe seemed weird but didn’t linger long enough to act on that niggle. Respect the niggle!

    I will go into the next Horace appearance knowing that there may be a reward for working on it.

  2. Oops, typo, I only saw The Cherry Orchard once, but the memory of it is much stronger than the other one.

  3. At the risk of sounding rather thick, I don’t get the Diamond Lil one…nor the Alice comment that goes with it. Any help?

  4. So, 1) I don’t get the Diamond Lil, nor the comment after it.

    2) The J’acuzzi is a good pun, my problem with it is that Zola didn’t turn it off, he turned it on, and it got him in hot water; as for other people in hot water, it doesn’t quite scan, as he was exposing both the absolute innocence of certain parties on the one hand, and the absolute corruption of others on the other; the innocents got out of hot water (to the extent they did, an eventual pardon, not exoneration) thanks to the J’acuzzi, and the others, to the extent they did get into hot water (being exposed (and then later indemnified along with Zola — what a slap in the face!)), he wouldn’t have wanted them to get out of hot water, and he didn’t retract his J’acuzzi, he went all the way to the libel trial …twice! So in the end, it has all the trappings for a good pun, but they authors really needed to do more than just glance at the Wikipedia page to apply it: maybe something along the lines of “How did Zola put the French establishment in hot water?”

  5. Stan and larK, the joke in the Diamond Lil is that “goes in tight” and “gesundheit” sound alike — so that while the character on the right is probably saying “goes in tight” to complete his sentence about his front door lock and key, it also could be taken as “gesundheit” in response to the character on the left sneezing.

  6. Sorry about the incomplete private joke about my friend Alice. But I realized I couldn’t finish relating this memory (of the 1970s) without the cartoon pun having been explained or discussed.

    My friend Alice liked to take advantage of this same sound-ambiguity for purposes of friendly banter or wrong-footing you. If she sneezed, and you said “Gesundheit”, she might respond in character as offended by the implied sexual bravado of “Goes in tight” which is what she was pretending to hear. Like, “Well! You think you’re going to have the chance to find out?”. Or on a good day “Planning to find out for yourself?”.

  7. @ I agree with larK’s objections and like his suggested improvement very much. What I do not understand (at all) is Kevin’s detour into “The Cherry Orchard”. I saw the Chekhov play just once, and found it odious beyond belief. I was more than willing to go down the rabbit hole to discover Zola/Dreyfus/J’Accuse, but that was more than enough to turn this strip into a successful joke. If I would have to suffer another walk into the cherry orchard to understand the significance of the weird apostrophe, then I think I would prefer to forego the experience.

  8. Aww, dang; I meant “naturalism” not normalism. (I had a headache this morning.)

    @Kilby “odious beyond belief” That’s why I wished I had known about the European “literal school of naturalism” thing , so I could have a brain activity that was more interesting than simply watching the play(s).

    (The 2nd “Uncle Vanya was a TV production which I did not finish)

  9. @Kevin A, I promise you I mean this in a spirit of kindly advice, and not argumentation. But you’ve gotta stop being so hypnotised by these School-of-writing labels that someone has come up with purposes of grouping in a syllabus. Not that they’re so wrong, just that they’re not very useful the way you’re proposing to use them. Reading or attending Chekhov plays — or reading his fiction for that matter — is not really going to give you much insight into Zola.

    And in the immediate context, the significant thing about Zola for this cartoon is entirely his role in the Dreyfus Affair and publishing the “J’Accuse” challenge; and honestly, I’d say anything else about his writing is quite irrelevant — except that I haven’t read any of it so can’t say that from my own experience. But I honestly don’t feel I’m missing anything that would matter at all here.

    With that out of the way … what is this “normalism” you mention and contrast with Naturalism? Also, could that alternative production of Uncle Vanya you aren’t quite counting have been “Vanya on 42nd Street”, the film directed by Louis Malle and starring Wallace Shawn? It’s about a production of the Chekhov play.

  10. I got the first right away. The second I had to scan twice to glean the meaning.

    There is an NHL player named Jack Hughes. When his name comes up in videos from The Hockey Guy, I always think “J’accuse!” Coincidentally, Hughes is Jewish.

  11. There is another hockey player named Jack Hughes, taken in the 2022 entry draft. Some people were hoping that the NJ Devils would draft him so they would have both Jack Hugheses. They didn’t.

    However, Vancouver did draft Elias Pettersson to go with the one they already have.

  12. I agree with the London Derrière, I know just about enough of Zola to recognize J’Accuse and groan. I have much more interesting ways to waste my time than trying to parse a perfect analogy out of a daily comic. Now, as to the contribution by Andréa, unless it is supposed to be “arcane” I got nothing.

  13. Now, as to the contribution by Andréa, unless it is supposed to be “arcane” I got nothing.

    Yes, precisely: Horace gives us nothing.

  14. I’m with guero, even after Mitch’s explanation, I still am left with nothing. Why is that supposed to be funny?

  15. To “spell” it out: he’s carrying an “R” cane — it’s “arcane”; get it?! He doesn’t even have to tell the joke (he gives nothing), and it’s still arcane…

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